Ham traffic jams were the order of the day as the 2017 Hamvention opened at Greene County Fairgrounds and Expo Center in Xenia, Ohio this morning. Convention-goers eager to experience Hamvention’s new venue waited in traffic for up to 2 hours.
The weather on Friday was slightly overcast and humid, with an occasional breeze as Hamvention attendees perused exhibits in several large halls named after such notables as Hertz, Tesla, and even ARRL’s Hiram Percy Maxim.
The four forum halls were active all day, with ARRL’s “Ham Radio Makers and Hackers” forum drawing a capacity crowd. One of that forum’s presenters, Glen Popiel, KW5GP, was heartened when, upon asking forum attendees how many of them had tinkered with microcontrollers, nearly all of them raised their hands.
Other Friday forum topics included SHARES, MARS, best practices for operators, foxhunting, antennas, and more. This year, DARA has provided comment forms for forum attendees to complete at the close of each forum.
In addition to the exhibit halls, there were several large tents of exhibitors, which featured clubs, equipment distributors, and organizations related to ham radio. The tents offered a casual atmosphere.
The famous Hamvention flea market was alive and well out on the fairgrounds, with convention-goers going from table to table searching for bargains.
At lunchtime, attendees lined up at the numerous food trucks on the fairground, which offered french fries, pork chops, chicken wings, pulled pork, Italian sausage, steak sandwiches, and more. People ate at picnic tables and bleacher seating dotted around the fairgrounds.
The ARRL booth hosted ARRL authors Joel Hallas, W1ZR; Glen Popiel, KW5GP, and Ward Silver, N0AX, for book signings.
Visitors to the ARRL booth met with ARRL board members and Headquarters staff, and stocked up on books and Field Day gear.
In the early part of the day, the crowds of attendees made it tricky to navigate the aisles. By 3 p.m., it was noticeably easier to move through the buildings and grounds. Rain started around 4, and was at times very hard. By 5 p.m. many attendees had cleared out to enjoy Friday night events and relaxation.
ARRL staff posted several videos to the League’s social media feeds over the course of the day, to offer a sense of the convention to those who were unable to attend.—Becky Schoenfeld, W1BXY, QST Managing Editor